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Baptist Health addressing the nursing shortage



Little Rock, Arkansas – Many hospitals nationwide experienced a nurse shortage during the pandemic. Baptist Health in Little Rock says they are still working to close the gap.

According to hospital representatives, there are currently over 300 nursing positions open that need to be filled. They claimed they have a variety of strategies in mind to bridge the wide gap.

According to Cathy Dickinson, chief human resources officer at Baptist Health, the hospital has long had a shortage, but the epidemic has made it worse.

“One thing was a lot of people just left the bedside and decided they were scared of it,” Dickinson said. “The other thing is a lot of nurses left to travel you know the pay was really good.”

Dickinson claimed that in order to counter that, more chances for scholarships for both present and future workers have been created.

“We’re offering a lot of scholarships as we go out to the colleges across the state,” Dickinson added. “We’re also giving scholarships to our own internal employees who want to pursue a career in nursing, and we’ve seen that be a really good success.”

According to Dickinson, students attending Baptist Health College are also eligible for these scholarships.

It has aided in filling roles in the workforce, according to Amy Morris, the RN Coordinator at the college.

“There has been a decrease in enrollment into the nursing profession which has resulted in a decrease in graduates for our program,” Morris said.

They’re seeking for particular applicants, according to Morris.

“Oftentimes someone that has had that experience in their own lives or in their family with modeling caring behavior to someone either when they’re ill, been in a clinic, or hospital,” Morris said.

The creation of staffing stability, according to Dickinson, is one of the measures they have taken to address the issue.

“Using some supplemental staffing we created an internal pool of nurses that like doing flexibility,” Dickinson said.

Several changes, according to Jonathan Nguyen, a registered nurse who has worked in Baptist Health’s emergency department for five years.

“They’ve done a lot of remodeling in the ER and that’s made the flow of everything better,” he said. “We also got new equipment like rovers in our hands for scanning patients instead of longing into a computer every time we go into a patient’s room.”

He claimed that his undergraduate experience was what ignited his desire to pursue this line of work.

“I always like to learn new things and that’s the beauty of nursing, especially in the ER there’s always something new,” Nguyen said.

He expressed his belief that the job’s versatility will assist to finally close the gap.

“If you get tired of the bedside you can move on to insurance. There are all kinds of things you can do in the nursing field,” Nguyen said.

The application deadline for nursing students at Baptist Health College is May 31. Candidates for nursing jobs at Baptist Health may submit their applications online.


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